Airships, also known as Beamers, are bio-mechanical aircraft/spacecraft utilized by the Espheni directly for air strikes and air/space combat.
The Airships are used by the Skitters as deadly vehicles designed for close and long-range air support to their ground troops. Coupled with dense, protected armor, several powerful weapons and rapid term
final velocity, the Airship is used for general combat and close air support of the Skitters' ground forces. Ships are almost always present where skitters roam, and if not present can be called in a matter of seconds.
The Airships can be summoned by human collaborators using the scout whistle. It engages the Airship's engines and causes them to home in on the signal from it. The summoned Airships will then automatically bomb the location they are sent to before disengaging.
While the Airships are attack drones, they are capable of supporting a crew as seen in Space Oddity, Shoot the Moon and Find Your Warrior. The Airship hijacked by the 2nd Mass had life support systems capable of sustaining passengers on a trip to the Moon and back. The Overlord in Find Your Warrior came from an Airship that crashed when the Espheni power core was destroyed and Scorch flew an Airship after Tom and Lexi Mason.
When Scorch chased down Tom and Lexi, he arrived in a bigger variant of the Airship, but one that was clearly still an Airship. This one dwarfed the regular Airship class and had a tractor beam that could be used to reel in other ships.
Airships can be manually piloted through tendrils in a console that will pop up if a set of lights on the stairs inside the Airship are pressed. Like an airplane, the Airships have four basic controls: thrust, pitch, yaw and roll. Airships can also be easily piloted by Lexi due to her mental powers allowing her to interface with an Airship's systems with ease.
The Airships are used as air support vehicles, armed with a variety of powerful weapons for rapid battle domination. They are armed with two laser cannons and very powerful neutron bombs that are used as payload, which are capable enough to kill at least seven armed men, and possibly whole cities. They are usually seen flying in the air and are extremely deadly against ground forces. It is unknown what their weakness is, however one was destroyed in Season Finale Eight Hours by Tom Mason with a Mech-metal RPG or Mech metal anti aircraft fire. In season 2, Beamers are found to be unmanned bio mechanical drones and can be confused of the central command is taken out. They can also be taken out by machine guns, as seen in Shall We Gather at the River. Cochise was able to shoot one down with a Volm rocket launcher in Saturday Night Massacre. It survived relatively intact and was able to be put to human use. In A Thing With Feathers, when Dingaan Botha accidentally discharged a weapons system on the ship, some kind of missile was fired but what damage it did is unknown as it was last seen flying off into the air.
Use of BombsEdit
The Skitters called in an airstrike that blew up South Boston in Live and Learn. They then called in an airstrike against Pope's gang when they saw a flare in The Armory. An airship also fired a single bomb at Pope, Maggie and Hal in Worlds Apart. During the skirmish with the human collaborators, an Airship dropped a bomb of some sort on the Volm supply cache after being called in by Mira's scout whistle, destroying the cache, but doing little damage to the surrounding area.
During the Battle of Chinatown, Cochise of the Volm shoots down an Airship called in by the Overlord Scorch to attack Tector Murphy. The ship crashes and is buried under a lot of rubble, but survives the crash intact. Its later mentioned that minor repairs are done to it so it doesn't take major damage either being shot down or crashing.
The next night, after Tom Mason and Dingaan Botha escape being trapped in rubble after accidentally firing the ship's weapons systems, the ship powers up when hit by moonlight and Tom and his son Hal's attention is drawn to green flashes on the Moon that seem to be responsible for the Airship powering up. Cochise realizes that the flashes are actually the Espheni power core that the Volm had been searching the Earth for and Tom decides to launch a strike against the power core and destroy it to disable all Espheni technology on Earth. To this end, he starts excavations on the Airship, their one chance of reaching the Moon. Eventually, using Mira's scout whistle, Shaq is able to engage the Airship's engines and it flies itself out of the ground.
With the Airship now free of the rubble, the 2nd Mass and the Volm work on figuring out how to fly it. Cochise comes up with the idea of setting the ship to fly to the Moon base's homing beacon and essentially just hitching a ride onboard when it flies there. However, when he tries to hook up a Volm communicator to perform this task, the ship's defenses destroy it and Cochise realizes that the Airship will likely reject anything Volm, making it impossible for him to fly on the mission as he'd originally planned. Instead, he offers the suggestion that if the Airship is flown above the Earth's atmosphere, it will automatically lock onto the Moon base's homing beacon and fly itself there on autopilot. A later diagnostic confirms Cochise's theory. As a result, a lottery is held to determine who will fly the Airship to the Moon to destroy the power core and Tom's son Ben and Tom himself are chosen due to a partially-rigged lottery. As the two prepare to depart in the ship, a squadron of enemy Airships are spotted approaching, scrubbing the launch. To everyone's surprise, the enemy squadron is destroyed by Alexis Glass-Mason who had been on the enemy's side previously.
Despite the brief setback and surprise appearance of Alexis, Tom insisted upon continuing the mission and prepared to launch with Ben. However, Alexis informed Colonel Daniel Weaver and her mother that while they'd gotten the Airship airborne, they'd never succeed in traveling to the Moon and back in it without her help. Her powers gave her the ability to control the Airship's systems mentally and she'd be best suited for protecting it if they came under attack. Weaver and Anne are able to convince Tom of the logic of such a choice and Tom reluctantly agrees to Alexis co-piloting the ship on the mission with him rather than Ben. After saying goodbye, Alexis launches the ship into space with the extreme g-forces causing Tom some trouble on takeoff. Once in space, Alexis locks onto the homing beacon and engages the ship's autopilot system. She tells Tom that they only need half power in the battery to get back, but discovers that a hairline fracture in the ship's hull was exacerbated by the takeoff and while life support is compensating, its causing a massive drain on their power and they won't have enough to get to the Moon and home. Without the ability to go outside and fix the damage and with Tom refusing to turn back, Alexis instead suggests using a cocoon to put them into stasis while she deactivates life support to preserve power. The plan ultimately works and they emerge from stasis near the Moon and with plenty of power to make it back. Unknown to either of them however, turning life support off caused the bomb casing to rupture and render the bomb useless.
Approaching the Moon, the problem with the bomb is discovered, but an even bigger problem arises when Scorch arrives in an even bigger Airship and captures them with his tractor beam. Boarding Scorch's ship, Tom and Alexis face off with Scorch who communicates with them through a now-harnessed Mira. Tom eventually kills Scorch with a Volm poison, but not before he destroys his ship's autopilot system. As Alexis prepares Scorch's ship to be used as a makeshift bomb and Tom disables the tractor beam, Alexis discovers the destroyed autopilot, but realizes that she can still manually pilot Scorch's ship. Alexis programs their original Airship to reverse course along the track it had taken following the homing beacon to take Tom back to Earth and says goodbye, knowing that only by sacrificing herself can she destroy the power core. As Alexis flies Scorch's ship at the power core, Tom's ship comes under attack by an enemy Airship squadron, but he is saved by the return of Waschak-cha'ab who destroys the enemy squadron. Alexis performs a suicide run into the power core with Scorch's ship, destroying the power core and herself and taking out all Espheni technology on Earth. The shockwave from the explosion throws Tom's Airship far off-course and flings it out into deep space where he is rescued by the Dornia.
Tom is later returned to Earth by the Dornia minus his Airship. When explaining why she saved him, the Dornia shows Tom her ship with his old Airship attached to the bottom, both having been hidden beneath the ocean the entire time. After his wife Anne dies, Tom remembers how the Dornia saved him after he nearly died on the Airship and pleads to the Dornia to save Anne like they did him since he got them their revenge. The Dornia eventually comply.